keresaspa: (Diggory)
The short version of this is that London was rather good apart from the going and the coming, which were hell on earth. On the off-chance that anybody is still reading this (and I note in my extended absence that I am now down to one person submitting regular updates on my friends list) I shall expand at some length about what took place.

The Austrian stork nurtures the kites )


Sep. 27th, 2013 09:52 pm
keresaspa: (Wil Cwac Cwac)
Given how rarely I update this now I suspect my occasional extended absences draw little attention but this one can be explained away by an impromptu post-birthday break to possibly my favourite city - Edinburgh.

I'll leave off details about the flights. Suffice to say both reasonable as flights go, but I still hate flying. My base for the trip was Motel One on the corner of Market Street and Cockburn Street. A very central location thankfully although it was a peculiar place to say the least, with rooms having no wardrobes, only two badly positioned electrical sockets and a television that only worked properly when it felt like it. Seemingly it was part of a German chain as all signs and handouts were primarily in German but the rooms were certainly well designed, if a touch minimalist for my taste. The inevitable problem of keeping milk cool also struck (as it does it nearly every hotel) and my twin solutions - filling the bin with cold water or thrusting the milk bottle into the toilet - both proved unsuccessful with the remains of one Poundland effort even ending up curdled. Still, I didn't come here to talk about milk, did I?

So after arriving at the hotel on Monday I set off on my travels, with the Gorgie area of the city my destination. I had no previous dealings with that side of town but had designed a route from Google Maps and was surprised to find that, for once, my plans proved fool-proof. I arrived at Tynecastle in good time and got my ticket for the forthcoming League Cup match between Heart of Midlothian and Queen of the South. The Hibernian-Stranraer game was also an option but I figured I had previously been to Easter Road and that match was on Tuesday, for which I had other plans. The rest of the day was spent arseing about the familiar old streets, battling with an unseasonable heatwave and struggling in vain to find any supermarkets. Is there a law in Scotland banning supermarkets within three miles of the city centre or something? A nice haddock supper made for a fine repast that evening although it left the room ponging somewhat. Such is life.

Tuesday, as stated, was already earmarked for a specific purpose and that was a day's excursion to Glasgow. I am by no means a strong road traveller but the relatively short coach journey between the two cities played severe havoc with my stomach and a boak was avoided by the skin of my teeth. Glasgow is a city I have criticised on here before and I stand by those criticisms - it is horrendously ugly, having obviously been smacked about by town planners in a similar fashion to Belfast (if you must put new buildings beside old, at least try to match the architecture styles a bit) and the frankly ridiculous levels of drunks and junkies wandering about, regardless of the time of day, is very tedious and makes the whole place seem rather unsafe. However I still enjoyed my time there as it has greatly improved as a shopping venue and I could happily have killed a couple more hours there, even if the habit of checkout people saying "first, please" instead of "next, please" struck me as rather odd. One big gripe though - my God, have the accents ever been diluted! I'm a big fan of the Scottish accent in general, it being one of only two British isles accents I like, but a lot of the Glasgow kids sound like they're from the East End of London these days. Such a shame; you have a lot to answer for Eastenders!

My old stamping ground from 2011, Leith, was my first port of call on Wednesday and I meandered down that seedy old road nostalgically, notwithstanding the incessant pishing rain. Keeping on the two years ago riff, I spent the afternoon knocking about what I believe is called Newington (an altogether more refined area than the run-down republican interface area of the same name in Belfast) before heading back to the hotel. My plans to get a self-made salad for lunch were again thwarted as, just like two years ago, self-service salad bars are still absent from supermarkets despite being as common in Ireland as drunk people. Still, to each his own I suppose. That evening was the match and thankfully the rain had finally done one as I didn't fancy taking the relatively long trot out to Tynecastle in the middle of a downpour. As I took my seat in the Main Stand near the halfway line (always the best spot) I drank in the scene. Tynecastle is more dilapidated than Easter Road, although to be fair Hearts are in dire straits financially so it's only to be expected. Still it's a grand old ground nevertheless and credit to the Queen of the South supporters, who made an ungodly row throughout despite being only a small section of the 8,000 strong crowd. As to the match itself it was, quite frankly, bloody brilliant. Hearts played below their capabilities and the Doonhamers inevitably raised their game making it a blood and guts affair in which Hearts lost the lead three times before going through on a penalty shootout. They both went above and beyond in the entertainment stakes and I left the stadium exhilarated, having watched what was probably the best match as a spectacle that I had ever attended. It was well after eleven before I got back to Princes Street but, as always seems to happen at Edinburgh matches, an unofficial walking bus of supporters ensured total safety in numbers.

Thursday brought a welcome return to fine weather and I decided to get a bus day ticket and explore a few places I didn't know. My first port of call was Corstorphine, a suburb near the airport, and a pretty place the former village was. I killed a while there before returning to the main drag and boarding a bus for Musselburgh. I fancied a spell by the seaside and it seemed as good a place as any, although after nearly three quarters of an hour on the bus and still nowhere near the place I gave up and decamped at an out of town retail park by the name of Fort Kinnaird. As a monument to capitalist consumption it was slightly unnerving and its complete lack of facilities played havoc with my suddenly weak bladder but still, it was somewhere different and I had been mixing Musselburgh up with Helensburgh anyway. My third port of call was Ocean Terminal, which I felt compelled to investigate as it seemingly had a bus running to it every thirty seconds. When I got there it was yet another shopping centre, although this time a vast one nestled in a gentrified area reminiscent of the horrific Titanic Quarter in Belfast. My only thought was that a lot of fine historic dockland must have died to make way for such a monstrosity. To finish the day I partook of the local delicacies by devouring a haggis supper, which I was amazed to find consisted of a long sausage shaped slab of haggis bunged in batter and deep fried. Like haggis isn't fatty enough on its own! Probably not a good idea to eat offal with my blood problems but what the hell, I'm getting needle-stabbed next Friday so they can worry about it then (expect ferritin levels in the mid hundreds).

Home today, albeit with a little time for wandering around in Greyfriars and the surrounding area. All in all though it was a wonderful little break. I don't visit Edinburgh that often but whenever I do I'm always reminded why I'm so fond of the place. A wonderful city and the perfect place to dawdle a few days away.

Hab bumhug

Dec. 24th, 2011 08:28 pm
keresaspa: (Snowman)
It can be a bloody irritating time of year can this Christmas lark. The constant throng of people everywhere, the irritating preponderance of drunken idiots all day long, bored children at large looking for trouble, the sudden and unexpected reinvention of the word "sleep" as a noun that can apparently be pluralised and resentful minimum wage skivvies being made to wear Santa hats in a heartless attempt to increase their humiliation. This also ignores the constant trips to Iceland to pick up forgotten food items for yours truly, a place that combines all of the aforementioned horrors under one roof (well, maybe not the "sleeps" one), offering no comfort at all, bar possibly the sight of spokeswoman Stacey Solomon grinning at you over packets of dead fish (hey, Solly might be rough as a roofer's glove but she has my two favourite face faults i.e. a big nose and a tendency towards being toothy. Yes I am an odd fellow).

Still worse things happen at sea and it is apparently the time for good cheer or some such so let's look on the bright side - at least "Last Christmas" and "Fairytale of New York" were given a bit of a rest this year. There'll be no snow, somebody will cry inEastEnders, you'll secretly hate those socks and you'll end up feeling more than a little nauseous but it comes once a year so you might as well make the best of it. Now to bed with you all less the big man with the white beard decides to give your house a miss this year. And let's face it Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Kenny Rogers dropping in for a cup of tea and flies graveyard. Or the old pickled walnut obviously.

In the words of Clement Mark Moore "Happy Christmas to all...

keresaspa: (Cookie Kwan)
So there I am, Monday night about a quarter to eight sitting through another horrid episode of EastEnders in which Nina Wadia was once again conspicuous by her absence. Bored, I decided to get up and grab an orange from the kitchen. Whatever way I got up something went wrong because my lower back suddenly exploded in a ball of pain. Not good at all. For the rest of the night I was forced to hobble around like a ninety year old and sleep was effectively out the window as getting into a comfortable position in bed was impossible. The pain continued for most of yesterday and meant that leaving the house was an impossibility, although by bedtime I did manage to find a way to cope. I had hoped it would be gone by now and I must admit that it is a lot better but as I sit and type this I can feel the odd twinge emanating from my right arse cheek. I did say 28 was the start of me as a middle-aged man and I think rubbish like this proves it. It's all downhill from here!
keresaspa: (Demis Roussos)
Ah, time to stop and smell the flowers. For the first instance in quite some time I have bugger all work to do today. That being said, of course, I didn't get off scot-free as a lot of fannying about has had to be done. The honcho had asked for a final version of the old thesis for him to rubbish so I got it done on Friday with the intention of handing in today. Of course, when I got to the binding place they told me soft-binding was not available until Thursday as millions of gits are looking it right now. "Sod it", thinks I, "I'll just stick it in a file as it's not the REAL final version". Only problem with that was no hole puncher. Being the tightwad I am I was loathe to buy one but gave in and took a trip to the local stationers. Arsed about there a while, unable to see one and dreading a Mates condoms ad-style encounter where I had ask "any hole punchers, love" before exiting with a red handprint on my face. Finally found the blighters and was forced to part with nearly four of your English pounds to get my hands on it. Yikes! Cue deluge of you stating how you could have got me one for nothing but waiting was not an option and I suppose it was overdue as the three I have are all very poor indeed, the sort that punch one hole and leave the other resembling the pregnants chads of Florida fame. Progress was further held up by all the new intake of kiddywigs who are registering this week and all seem to have that awkward combination of "I think I'm dead hard but am actually shitting myself so I'll be loud to cover it up" that is typical of new students. By the time I had punched my holes and squeezed 200 odd pages into a file that had had enough by 150 I had more waiting to do as the office was on a lunch break. Ended up having to read some terribly tedious book to fill in a spare half hour before facing a queue to hand the thing in. Still, at least it's out of the way and I don't need to worry again until Thursday when I see the honcho and he rips it apart. Good son!

Apropos of nothing, I happened to catch an episode of the really rather ghastly EastEnders the other night. Now normally a show obsessed with horrid London, "they were lovely boys who loved their mums even though they gave people ear to ear mouths for no particular reason" gangsters and chavs would appeal to me about as much as horse-crap sandwich but I was in no mood for a cigar so I decided to tough it out. I mention this only because my interests was very definitely sparked by the appearance of Nina Wadia. By George, but isn't she a deliciously buxom woman?! Twas always a delight to see her on Goodness Gracious Me and I'm very glad she is back on our screens. So makers of tawdry BBC soap, if you happen to be reading this let's have more Zainab Masood and less of those awful Mitchell sisters. Thank you.

Anyway, enough work and licentiousness for one day. All that remains is to say a happy birthday to a fellow mid-September baby in [ profile] the_fi and bid you all a good day.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Hello all. Good news as the recent heavy fog that has engulfed the city has lifted today and we are able to see more than a few feet in front of our faces again. Some say fog is a good thing but it gives me a wet moustache, makes tobacco taste like redband trout that's been under the radiator since St. Hallvard's day and gives you a very real sense of dread when attempting to cross any road. So, good riddance to the fog. At least now I can have my early hours of the morning fegs without running the risk of pleurisy. That being said, all the sillies moaning about planes being grounded were asking for trouble flying at this time of year, anyway.

'Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the old pickled walnut' was a fine example of the wisdom of the great Pete Beale. Of course Pete is long dead but were he alive he would surely amend that to 'Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bunch of fundamentalist Orthodox monks beating seven bells out of each other'. YouTube might be held up as the bees' leg joints but until it gets some footage of men in black robes and huge bears crowbarring each other it will always be somehow unsatisfactory.

EDIT: Almost forgot to mention the death of old Turkmenbashi himself, Saparmurat Niyazov. He banned beards, cut public health, made drivers pass a morality test, replaced the Hippocratic Oath with a personal one of loyalty to him, sliced pensions, made teachers write articles praising him for extra pay and changed the name of bread to his mother's name. Crazy, crazy guy! Won't be missed by me, I must say.

Well, that's all for now. Enjoy it whatever you are doing this next lot of days and I'll see you all in the middle of next week when the hype will finally be over.

A very merry Christmas to you all.
keresaspa: (Default)
Had to nip out for a feg and a drink there as well as to buy World Soccer. I didnt buy last months for the first time in ages but have restored things to normal. One month without reading the reactionary babblings of Brian Glanville is more than enough for anyone.
I'm looking now for any site that would give me details of the old BBC2- shown series of Mahabharata. I'm pretty sure I recognize Dalip Tahil (the dad of the new family in Eastenders) from there as he looks a lot like the guy who played Bhima only older (well it was at least fifteen years ago) and smaller (I suppose he could have been acting with small people and been only medium sized himself). The things that occupy my days! Well, back to the hunt I suppose.


keresaspa: (Default)

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